Educating the higher-ups: Students voice concerns to state legislators



By Taylor Moak

It may have been two weeks late, but students came to rally.

Students from Kentucky’s public universities traveled to the Capitol in Frankfort Tuesday for the Rally for Higher Education.

The rally was originally scheduled for two weeks ago, but was postponed because of snowy weather.

The turnout for the rally was smaller than in past years, but those in attendance heard about the benefits of a Kentucky education.

Gov. Steve Beshear said when he came to office two years ago he had two priorities: education and jobs.

“(Our first priority was to) get and give the very best education to the people of this state,” Beshear said.

Beshear said his office has “stood fast on the priorities that will make this state great” and “maintained (the) commitment to education of our people.”

Jonathan Miller, secretary of Kentucky’s Finance and Administration department, encouraged students to speak up about their concerns to state legislators.

“We need to have your voices heard,” Miller said.

Miller had students in attendance chant “I am Kentucky’s future” and took a video of them doing so to post on Facebook.

Tanya Shumaker, a management, economics and political science freshman, said she came to the rally because she is interested in tuition increases and the funding of schools.

Shumaker said she also wanted to hear the “governor’s take on need-based scholarships.”

Colton Jessie, a broadcasting junior at Western Kentucky University, was a student keynote speaker.

“I am a Kentucky education,” Jessie said.

Jessie said the scholarships he received through state programs like Governor’s School for the Arts are one of the reasons he can afford his higher education.

The state government should not cut funding because a Kentucky education will move us forward as a state, Jessie said.

Jessie encouraged students to speak up to state legislators about the continued need for funding of higher education.

“Demand your education be invested in,” Jessie said. “Because we are the future and worth investing in.”